Irma La Douce (United Artists 1963, Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine)

Irma La Douce

Based on the stage musical of the same name, director and co-writer Billy Wilder’s screen adaptation of Irma La Douce scuttles the music in favor of even greater emphasis on comedy.

Re-teaming the romantic duo from The Apartment, Jack Lemmon is a Parisian gendarme who falls under the spell of a prostitute from Place Pigalle, played by Shirley MacLaine. Like Pretty Woman, this is a movie about a streetwalker and an upright man who fall in love. But where the more recent film ends on that note, here that’s just the beginning of a story filled with slapstick, sweet deceit and romantic raillery.

Some of the most entertaining action revolves around a convincingly disguised Lemmon going totally unrecognized by his amour. This film won Andre Previn an Oscar for Best Score and MacLaine a nomination for Best Actress.

The set of the bistro in Irma La Douce was built as a 360-degree circle, with rotating walls, so the crew could shoot from any direction.

Cast: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Herschel Bernardi, Bill Bixby, Hope Holiday, Lou Jacobi, Joan Shawlee

Producer and Director: Billy Wilder
Director of Photography: Joseph La Shelle
Editor: Dan Mandell
Composer: Andre Previn
Screenwriters: I.A.L. Diamond, Billy Wilder
Production Designer: Alexandre Trauner

USA / United Artists / 144 minutes / 1963

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